LA Freeway Procession to Honor Army Sergeant Killed in Helicopter Training Crash

Sgt. Isaac John Gayo, 27, of the 101st Airborne Division was among nine soldiers killed in a March 29 helicopter training exercise crash in Kentucky.

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The body of an 27-year-old Army sergeant from Southern California who was among nine soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in Kentucky will travel in a freeway procession Monday to a burial site.

Sgt. Isaac John Gayo, of the 101st Airborne Division, was killed March 29 during a training operation that involved two Black Hawk helicopters at Fort Campbell. Gayo's body will arrive at Los Angeles International Airport Monday before the procession at about 5 p.m. to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery near Griffith Park, according to the nonprofit veterans support group Honoring Our Fallen.

The group specializes in helping military families during the transfer of remains.

The procession route is below.

  • From LAX to Sepulveda Boulevard
  • 105 Freeway east to 110 Freeway
  • 110 Freeway north to the 5 Freeway
  • 5 Freeway north to 134 Freeway west to Forest Lawn Drive

Gayo was born in the Philippines and enlisted in the Army in 2019. Margaritta Gayo told NBCLA that she moved to Los Angeles with her younger brother and their father about a decade ago. Their father died about two years ago, she said.

She said her brother always planned to be part of the Army.

"He had a lot of plans," Margaritta Gayo said.

Sgt. Gayo attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and then took advanced individual training at Fort Eustis, Virginia, according to the Army.

His awards and decorations include the U.S. Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and the Overseas Service Ribbon. He had been studying to get into flight school, and learned about a week before the crash that he was accepted.

The helicopters, configured for medical evacuation, were flying together during the training exercise with pilots using night-vision goggles, Army officials said. The accident occurred as they were flying and not during the a medical evacuation drill, said Brig. Gen. John Lubas, the 101st Airborne deputy commander.

A U.S. Army aviation safety team found the helicopters' flight data recorders, which are commonly referred to as black boxes.  

The crash was the deadliest training incident for the Army since March 2015, when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed into the water off the Florida coast in dense fog, said Jimmie Cummings, spokesperson for the Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker. Four soldiers from the Louisiana Army National Guard and seven Marine special operations forces were killed.

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